Creepy Crawlies: The Most Unique Bugs and Snakes in Africa

spiders on african safari

The big creatures of Africa are easy to spot while traveling through a safari, but there are a few unique creepy crawlies that are well worth looking for on your trip. These creatures are interesting, rare and sometimes very dangerous.

The diverse ecosystems of South Africa provides homes for a multitude of snakes and insects. Watch these creatures with respect and try to keep your distance, as some are more deadly than a ferocious lion. Nonetheless, they are fascinating to watch in the wild. Here are some of the most unique bugs and snakes in Africa that you should look for on your safari vacation.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

These wasps are often larger than an adult man’s hand. They get their name from their preferred meal: tarantulas. The wasp hunts the desert spiders very much like a hawk hunts a rabbit. It then lands on top of its prey and injects it with a venom that renders it immobile. The Tarantula Hawk Wasp lays its eggs within the spider and the young feed on the still living body of the tarantula when they hatch. Their sting is said to be one of the most painful on the planet, so steer clear if you spot this amazing insect while on your safari.

Gaboon Viper

This snake lives in the forest regions of Africa. It is colored beautifully, displaying pink, brown and black markings. Though these snakes tend not to bite unless they are cornered, they are one of the most venomous in the world. One bite is capable of killing a man within minutes.

Boomslang Snake

This snake is very poisonous, but also timid and reported fatalities are scarce. The Boomslang Snake is a gorgeous green and black, making it very unique for a desert dwelling creature. Keep an eye out for this beautiful creepy crawly; the noise of safari goers tends to scare it away quickly.

African Scorpions

South Africa is home to one of the largest species of scorpion in the world. They commonly reach a size of over 8 inches in length. Their venom is only harmful to the very young and elderly, but their pincers can give a painful nip. Do not let their size intimidate you — the African Scorpions in South Africa are truly a unique creature to see.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

You may easily mistake this insect for a hummingbird if you are not paying close attention. Their unique appearance make them one of the most interesting of African insects. They truly look, sound and feed like a hummingbird. The memory of the Hummingbird Hawk Moth is incredible, they return to the same flower beds during the same time period each day.

Do not forget to look for the unique creepy crawlies of Africa while on your safari vacation. Some are intimidating or poisonous, but all are beautiful and worth seeing. Make your trip complete, from the largest of Africa’s critters to the very smallest. For more information on visiting South Africa, visit our Safari Tours page.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa